3 Ways Google Says Education Changing

Education is changing. I have talked much about it including the superiority of homeschooling and the replacement of degrees and certifications with badges. Turns out Google is noticing the same thing.

Laszlo Bock is the Senior Vice President for People Operations at Google. That is basically Google’s Human Resources (HR) department and they make hiring and firing decisions among others.

This article is an interview with Bock conducted by Adam Bryant, a New York Times columnist. The article contains some surprising information on trends Google, an information industry leader, has noticed. Here are the big 3 that I took note of:

1 People Can’t Hire Well.
Google did a study and found that the correlation between how well people in charge of hiring thought someone would do and how well they actually did was, “Zero relationship. It’s a complete random mess, except for one guy who was highly predictive because he only interviewed people for a very specialized area, where he happened to be the world’s leading expert.

Bottom line? Personal interviewing is a waste of resources. Let the computers hire. Filter a pool of applicants according to various requirements such as possession of a degree, badge or certification and then allow the computer to randomly select people. Introduce a try-out system where people are deliberately over-hired and fire the ones who don’t perform on the job. After a small amount of time the statistics will come to bear and accurate numbers can be hired to compensate for expected flunks.

2 GPA Has a Limited Importance
According to Bock GPAs, “Are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation.” Bock goes on to elaborate that the correlations are statistically insignificant 3 years after graduation. He also notes the reason, saying, “the skills you required in college are very different.” Exactly. We are measuring skills here, and degrees these days don’t do a good job. Certifications do a better job, and badges will one day rule them all. Badges micro-measure skill, certifications measure competency in a particular skill, and degrees measure general education and ability to adapt. In some ways all are useful, but collections of badges can mimic or exceed the power of certifications or degrees, even in those areas which the others may be useful.

3 College is Going Away
Bock says, “What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.”

Why? I would presume because Google is a tech company and tech companies have been the first to realize that certifications in specific skills are far superior to the overgeneralized educations presented by degrees. Certifications and badges represent an educational information diet and are therefore simply more efficient.

If the idea that GPA and college are going away is a shocker to you, all the more reason for you to watch the following video as I conclude. Note in particular from 6:30 onward as the speaker begins to question the modern way schools are usually set up:


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